Vicente was born in Piedralaves (Avila), a small town in the Sierra de Gredos a mountainous region west of Madrid. He is the oldest of five siblings. His mom was one of seven and his dad, one of nine. Most of the family still lives in the “pueblo” or in Madrid.
Vicente’s grandfather and seven Aunts owned a restaurant and a hotel on the main street in Piedralaves, España. Vicente’s parents and siblings all worked at their own Tapas and Wine bar called La Bodeguilla which specialized in locally made wine, jamon Serrano and Queso Manchego.
After doing the required military service as a green beret stationed in the Pyrenees, Vicente’s adventurous spirit took control and he embarked on a journey to explore the World with his cooking knife in hand and his readiness to learn from others.
From 1978 to 1985, Vicente worked in kitchens in London, Baquera-Beret (Spanish Pyrenees ski resort town), Tenerife, Miami, New York and San Francisco. He picked grapes one season in France. He crossed the Atlantic three times on sailboats ranging from a large schooner to a smaller 36ft catamaran with himself and two others for a month long crossing.
Somewhere along the way, he met Marita. Together they traveled by land from San Francisco, USA to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, got married in Spain, and then journeyed across Asia for a full year before settling back in Madison, WI to continue their academic studies.
Eight years, two children (Esther and Vincent), and a few college degrees later, they moved to Tucson in 1995 as professionals in their field. Vicente has degrees in Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture and Marita in Counseling Psychology.
While they were temporarily distracted by careers in the Public sector, Vicente, as President of the Club España de Tucson, was always looking for ways of sharing Spanish culture with Tucson. Marita and Vicente used their free time to plan community wine tastings, Paella Contests, and many opportunities to share food, wine, and friendship with the Spanish Club members and the Tucson community.
Wanting to share his love of sailing and their love of travel with their kids, Vicente and Marita took a two year sabbatical. With their two children, who were 9 and 10 at the time, they lived and traveled on a sailboat throughout the Caribbean, crossing the Panama Canal, and then visiting most of Central and South America. They spent one month with Marita’s grandmother in Rafaela, a small town in Northern Argentina.
After returning to Tucson, full of energy and a desire to start something new, Vicente’s roots caught up to him. He had always dreamed of having a cultural center for the Club España. A Spanish restaurant, with live music, and many special events would be a close second option. Jose Antonio, Vicente’s younger brother, came to Tucson to help in this new venture. So, in April 2005, Casa Vicente was born out of a love of food, wine, celebration and sharing a piece of Spain with Tucson.
Many of the dishes are recipes from Vicente and Jose Antonio’s family as well as traditional dishes from Castilla. There are also some regional specialties from other parts of Spain. Our wine list covers most of the regions and grapes found in Spain. We hope you can relax and enjoy a taste of Spain and come back enough to find your favorite tapas and wine region.
Feel free to ask any of us questions. Our staff works together as a family.